Digital Exclusive: Iowa DOT warns drivers of drowsy driving

Digital Exclusive

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – The Iowa Department of Transportation warns drivers to not drive when you’re drowsy.

Driving to work in the dark can cause drivers to be sleepy all day.

The sunlight triggers the body to stop producing melatonin, a hormone that causes people to be sleepy at night.

Without sunlight, some people’s bodies miss the trigger to shift into daylight mode.

Driving while being drowsy can have serious consequences for drivers.

In 2017, the NHTSA estimates that 91,000 police-reported crashes involved drowsy drivers that led to an estimated 50,000 injured and nearly 800 deaths.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the precise numbers of drowsy-driving crashes, injuries, and fatalities are not possible.

Courtesy of Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The NHTSA said that crash investigators are able to look for clues that drowsiness contributed to a crash, but the clues are not always conclusive or identifiable.

They also found three common facts associated with drowsy-driving crashes.

  • Crashes occur most often from midnight to 6 a.m. or in the late afternoon
  • Often involves the only person in the car (the driver) running off the road at high speed with no evidence of braking
  • The crashes happen on rural roads and highways

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says some signs of drowsy driving are:

  • Yawning or blinking often
  • Hard time remembering the last few miles that you drove
  • Missing the exit
  • Drifting from your lane
  • Hitting a rumble strip on side of the road

The short-term ways to stop drowsy driving as drinking caffeinated drinks and pulling over at a rest stop for a short nap in a safe place.

Drivers can prevent drowsy driving by getting enough sleep before you drive, which the Iowa DOT says, is the best way to combat drowsy driving and on a regular basis.

The NHTSA has other long-term ways:

  • Getting a good night’s sleep before a long trip
  • Teen drivers delay driving until they’re well-rested
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before driving
  • Check if your medications cause drowsiness
  • If the medications do, take public transportation when possible
  • Avoid driving during peak sleepiness periods (12 a.m.- 6 a.m. and late afternoon)

For more information on drowsy driving, go to CDC and NHTSA websites.

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